Yes, I know you just got a race day recap, but I'm trying to catch up.
So, I ran my first 10K on 14th June. I had to think about it carefully, but it really is true; I've run a 15K, a 12K, and three 5Ks, but this was the first 10K.
I've been following the training schedule provided by the Smart Coach on Runner's World, and I was feeling pretty discouraged in the couple of weeks leading up to the race. I felt like my long runs were getting slower, my speedwork was not getting me anywhere, and that I was more tired than energised after a week's worth of running. So I went into the race not expecting much.
Boy, was I wrong! For one thing, the trial and error of the last couple of months of races have given me a more or less infallable list of songs that really give me a boost on race day. The best, by far, is "Salt and Light" by Best Friends, with "Wonderwall" by Oasis in second, followed by "Do You Hear the People Sing?" and "One Day More", both from the Les Miserables soundtrack. There are plenty of others as well, but those are certainly my top four. And yes, I realise that it is an odd mix. I don't know why these work so well, but something in my brain likes them when my legs and lungs would prefer to take a break.
Back to the race... nothing much eventful happened for the first five miles. I just kept going, focused on not running out of steam, but also using the runners ahead of me to keep my pace up (which worked marvellously well in May's race). I tried to picture myself reeling them in, one by one, which worked-- I passed eight people before the race was over. And a tractor.
Since I mentioned it, let me tell you about the tractor... some unfortunate farmer was trying to get some work done, and was probably surprised to see 100ish people running down a road which, I'm guessing, he normally has to himself. I was trying to reel in Unsuspecting Runner # 5, when a tractor swung off a side road and planted itself between me and said runner. (Yeah, I was still a ways back.) My first thought was, There's a tractor in my way! But then common sense overtook me, and I remembered he could only drive as fast as the runner ahead of me was going anyway, so instead of trying to catch the runner, I focused on catching the tractor. And I did, right before I caught #5. It was my first race against a tractor (and I'm from Indiana, so that's saying something).
Runner #6 is the one who motivated me the most. I think I mentioned in the blog about April's race how much I hate passing people toward the end of the race, because I am so non-competitive when it comes to running. As slow as I am, I really have no other option, because if I were competitive, I'd be upset all the time. Anyway, I passed a man and woman just before the 5-mile mark, and I heard her say (over my iPod, by the way), "Look at her! I hope she's not in my age group!" Normally I would laugh this off, especially since I knew she was younger than me and therefore we are not, in fact, in the same age group, but the tone she said it in made it pretty clear she was about 20% joking and 80% serious. So I thought to myself, "Oh, I am so going to beat you."
So I reeled in #8 on my way to the finish line, and I heard the spectators calling #6's name, so I knew she was close behind me and had also passed #8... and she pushed me all the way to the end. I didn't know I had that much left in the tank, but when I saw my time at the finish, I almost forgot about her as I sped up again, because I was even faster running 6.2 in June than I was running 6 in May. I crossed the line just ahead of my opponent (about three seconds, I think), then went to sit down before I passed out. Chad came and found me (with banana in hand, thank goodness) and convinced me that this was not a time for sitting. And he was right, of course. I told him, "She really wanted to beat me to the finish," and he said, "Yeah, I could see that." So it wasn't just my imagination.
And I brought home a second-place medal. Chad also brought home his first medal; a third-place finish in the two mile. It was a great race.